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and Gentlemen, Members of the Artists' Fund Society.
I know that I express the feelings of the feelings of many others, in congratulating you warmly on the prosperity of your Association. The opening of your new and commodious Hall of Exhibition, on a site very generously secured to you by the Academy of Fine Arts, with the rich collection of your own more recent and beautiful works now arranged within it, gives assurance of your successful zeal in the past, and warrants the best hopes for the future. You need no longer complain that you are without a resting place and home, and the scandal of seeming alienation between a Society of Artists and a Society of the friends of Art, has ceased. We now see that, though there may be different views of policy, a sincere desire to promote the healthful growth of Art, binds you together in a union, perhaps the stronger, because without a literal covenant. Kindness has been proffered, and kindness has been accepted. You have shown yourselves above that
petty pride which refuses honourable aid in a good cause; and the Academy have shown their willingness that you should be set before the public in a good light, even at the expense of being thrown themselves into the back ground. So close a neighbourhood, formed in such circumstances, cannot fail to be fruitful of good offices.
The fact, that, as associated Artists, you are conscious of sufficient strength to assume the entire management of your own interests, is, in itself, cheering. For if it be true, that since The Painters of Siena were chartered in 1355, under those admirable statutes for the government of the profession which, for truth and clearness, have never been surpassed, Artists have proved themselves to be the best judges of what the honour of the Arts may demand, it should also be remembered, that in their earlier infancy, they have always needed and sought kindly nurture from those who have the taste to admire, and the means to reward, what they have not the happy genius to execute.
It is not until the friends of Art have become numerous through the influence of Art, that Artists can be independent of the few. They must themselves form the general taste upon which they are to live, and that can be done only by constant and patient addresses to the public eye, in works of genuine merit. Taste is governed by sentiment, rather than professional dictation. You can neither